Dedicated NHS professionals with a combined service of more than 3,826 years have been recognised at a special ceremony this week.
The awards were presented at the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Comissioning Group’s (BCWB CCG) staff celebration event, which took place on Wednesday 22 June in Wolverhampton.
More than 130 members of staff who have dedicated 20, 30 or 40 years to the NHS were honoured at the event, for their long and loyal service in the NHS.
Among those rewarded was Molly Henriques-Dillon BEM Care Home Quality & Safety Senior Manager for BCWB CCG, who received an award for 45 years’ service. Molly started her nursing career straight from school as a cadet nurse in 1976 and has been a registered nurse since 1980, with experience across all areas of the NHS.
In 2014, Molly came out of retirement to lead a quality nurse team, overseeing arrangements for more than 60 care homes in Wolverhampton. She was also awarded the British Empire Medal for her fantastic leadership and care to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic when she took on a system wide role.
Molly said: “I can’t believe I’ve received an award for 45 years’ service – it makes me feel old but I’m absolutely delighted! It’s an incredible achievement which I hope will inspire others.
“I love my job and my ambition for the coming years is to continue working with care homes across the Black Country to ensure every patient receives high quality, safe and effective care.
“I could not have achieved all that I have done without the incredible team I work with, who are equality committed and compassionate about nursing and quality as I am".
Also receiving an award at the event for 43 years’ service was Kerris Percival, Lead Nurse and Safeguarding Specialist for Child Mortality at BCWB CCG. Kerris started work just after her 17th birthday in September 1978 as a pre-registration student nurse, at the Wolverhampton and Midland Counties Eye Infirmary.
She said: “When I think back to all those years ago, I absolutely loved being a student nurse and have some great memories of my training.
“After I qualified, I spent time as a staff nurse before deciding to specialise in children’s nursing, and eventually I became a Health Visitor. In 1988, I applied for a Health Visitor post to work on a computerised record-keeping pilot with a specific group of young women who were having a baby. This was the first time I can remember using a computer system – and it wasn’t as sophisticated as the systems that are in place now!
“I can’t believe I’ve received an award for 43 years’ service, the time really has flown!”
Annette Lawrence, Designated Safeguarding Adult Lead Nurse for BCWB CCG, also received an award at the event for 40 years’ service. Annette first started her career in the NHS in 1982, prior to commencing her nurse training in 1984 one month after turning 18, and qualified in 1987. Throughout her career Annette has continued to study, achieving her Master’s degree in Professional Healthcare Studies in her 40s, whilst also working full-time.
She said: “When I set out to do nursing, I knew it would be for life and I’ve never considered doing anything else. I still get a buzz out of nursing now and I feel so humbled to be receiving this award.
“I’ve made some really good lifelong friends throughout my career and I’ve been so touched by the patients, and their families, that I’ve looked after.”
Mark Axcell, Interim Accountable Officer for BCWB CCG, said: “Marking 20, 30 or 40 years of service within the NHS is an amazing achievement that should be celebrated.
“We chose to present our long service awards at our staff celebration event as it was the perfect opportunity for us all to celebrate the amazing work our staff do together.
“Our staff are our greatest asset and I’d like to thank all our long-serving colleagues for their commitment to the NHS.”